It may be a buyer’s market, but first-timers still face daunting challenges when purchasing a home — not the least of which is coming up with what can feel like a huge lump sum for a down payment.
Depending on where you’re buying a home, that can range from big to really, really big.
To help, WalletHub, the financial website, looked at 300 cities to determine those best suited to first-time buyers, ranking each on 27 metrics in three categories, including affordability (housing prices, insurance, cost of living and other factors).
The other two categories the study considered were the health of the local real estate market (including how long it would take for the monthly savings of buying over renting to surpass the cost of a down payment) and quality of life (including weather, crime rate, recreational options, schools and the share of residents around the same age as young buyers).
The study was a sampling — some cities were excluded because adequate data was not available — but the mix was broad enough to provide a starting point for buyers wondering where to look.
Interestingly, many of the smaller cities’ rankings were determined by quality-of-life scores, which were often superior to those of larger cities. And the cities with the most expensive housing didn’t make the top 10. (New York and Los Angeles were ranked 58th and 62nd out of 64 large cities.)
So which cities made the cut? Here are the top 10 for first-time home buyers — along with the main reason the study ranked them that way — in the small (population less than 150,000), midsize (150,000 to 300,000) and large (more than 300,000) categories.